Poll: do you get symptoms similar to an "MS Hug"?

Do you have any of the following symptoms in the chest/back?

  • A feeling of a tight band around the chest

    Votes: 12 46.2%
  • Pressure in the chest/back

    Votes: 11 42.3%
  • A feeling of being poked in the back

    Votes: 5 19.2%
  • Burning pain

    Votes: 9 34.6%
  • Sharp pain

    Votes: 8 30.8%
  • Tingling pain

    Votes: 6 23.1%
  • Bubbling or vibration

    Votes: 7 26.9%
  • None of these but I have other symptoms in the chest/back (elaborate in comments)

    Votes: 1 3.8%
  • None of the above

    Votes: 5 19.2%

  • Total voters

Art Vandelay

Senior Member
I have spoken to many ME/CFS patients who seem to have symptoms which mimic an "MS Hug". This appears to be one definition:
The pain of an MS hug has been described in many unique ways, including:
  • Sharp
  • Dull
  • Burning
  • Tickling
  • Tingling
  • Crushing or constricting
  • Pressure
This pain usually occurs somewhere in between your neck and your waist.

You might only feel it on one side or in one small area; at other times, it can wrap around your entire torso. The pain can occur in waves that last seconds, minutes, or hours, or it can be steady for longer periods of time.
My interest in this has been sparked by my own odd symptoms which seem to resemble an MS Hug. I also recalled this thread from @Sasha who described it as "feeling like being poked in the back by a broom handle".

This thread mentioned a patient who blogged on healthrising about experiencing this exact sensation. Unfortunately that particular entry is no longer on Cort's site but her other blogs are still online. It appears that the pressure in her back was being caused by a lesion on her spine. It appears that doctors did not know what caused it or how to treat it.

I experienced tight bands around my chest in the first few years after I first got EBV as well as sharp pains in the area under my ribs.

My other symptoms started with a burning pain on the spine. Eventually this morphed into a pressure-like sensation in that area. I always described it as if "someone was poking their thumb into my back".

Some years later, it felt like a girdle around the base of my ribs. This has again changed with the area of pressure shrinking over time. These days, I get odd sensations on my spine in the same area. They will vibrate, burn or feel sharp depending on the time of day.

I have had an MRI on my brain to rule out MS but am thinking it might be best to follow up with my specialist for a spine MRI too.
Last edited:


Senior Member
Seattle, WA USA
About 10 years ago I was getting what I called “the boa constrictor in my bed” symptoms. Mine was in my abdomen though, so different than MS hug. Men won’t get this, but mothers will. It felt like labor contractions. It only happened when I was asleep. I’d wake up gasping for breath. We investigated MS, but I don’t have it. (Of course). I don’t have it any more.

Art Vandelay

Senior Member
Another factor that caused me to post this thread is that I'm seeing lots of Covid long-haulers posting about these exact symptoms. Like many of us, they have been fobbed off by their doctors with various 'non-explanations' such as 'anxiety'. Some are being told that it's Costochondritis also.

Interestingly, it seems as though the literature on MS Hugs isn't too settled. From what I can see, the hypothesised causes include spinal lesions, demyelination and muscle spasms.

Art Vandelay

Senior Member
About 10 years ago I was getting what I called “the boa constrictor in my bed” symptoms. Mine was in my abdomen though, so different than MS hug.
Given the definition of MS Hug above (which mentions that it can occur anywhere between the neck and waist), I should have used 'torso' instead of 'chest' in my question to be more accurate perhaps.

Sorry about any misunderstandings!


Senior Member
In addition to these symptoms, I used to wake up in the night feeling like I was being strangled.

Even though my serum calcium is normal, I've only found relief from these symptoms by increasing intake.


Back or neck pain, which can be severe because of spinal bone fractures
  • change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out (fainting) or unresponsiveness

    Chest pain, tightness, pressure, or heart palpitations
  • Rapid, irregular or weak pulse
  • Respiratory or breathing problems, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, labored breathing, wheezing, not breathing, or choking
  • Seizure
  • Tetany (muscle contractions, which can be sudden, powerful and painful)
  • Unusual or profound weakness
  • tight radial out-to inner pressure around my chest
  • sudden muscle cramps in certain positions or when moving too fast
  • breathing problems due to tight chest
  • heart palpitations with pulse variations, mostly when squeezing my belly or if my front chest near the heart region is very tight
  • high blood pressure in case of meds stressing my lymphatic system
  • likely lymphatic system damage
  • small lumps and ligaments around my chest, possibly lying in fascia around muscles
  • tight cords
  • expanded belly (looks like I'm very fat) caused by tightening cords in the intercostal region
  • ring like pains in the intercostal regions
  • I have that pain 24h all around with worst at morning
I'm interested in the medications you took so far to relieve pain.

My experience:
  • magnesium helps a bit sometimes, but with vanishing effect taking continuously
  • potassium citrate reduces heart palpitations, but also massaging lumps in the intercostal region on the left side
  • massaging lumps and ligaments(some kind of horizontal ribbons) reduces them and cause twitches of muscle groups which eases breathing afterwards, but the effects doesn't last that long
  • taking immune pushing meds moves the ring of pressure in the intercostal region higher, for instance to the height of the subclavian/thoracic duct joint), taking these meds further moves it to your neck becoming very tight causing high blood pressure, dizziness and tremble
  • taking immune suppressing meds moves the ring downwards or more deep into your tissue
  • taking detoxifiers like zeolite, spirulina or coal also moves the ring more downwards or increases ring pain a bit
  • taking vitamin D 2.5k reduces tightness in the frontal chest a bit, but tightening more in the back of the chest
  • taking selenium methionine tightens the front of your intercostal region and relieves the back of your chest a bit
  • citrulline helps to reduce the intensity of pressure pain a bit, maybe we have some form of permanent PEM?
  • PT around the neck and thoracic spine helps to relieve the pressure pain a bit for around one day
  • Naipo shaitsu massage pillow massaging the whole errector spinae and neck cause muscles to twitch and relieves some tightness
  • taking tramal relives tightness a bit
  • sometimes applying hydrogen peroxide and cloride dioxid transdermal reliefs the ring pressure pain a bit too
  • taking alpha lipoic acid at night reduces some tightness in the chest for the next day
Without all of these things, I would be very severe.

If you have some ideas further, please tell me them.